Do people want to know about the person whose site they are visiting? I know I would. The internet is so impersonal and there is so much going on it is almost impossible to transcend that and actually make a sincere bond. I am going to try anyway.
My name is Joel and I have done a number of things in my life, both successful and not. I have in no particular order – worked in Walt Disney World, owned a video gaming LAN store, not finish college, been a retail manager, ran away as fast as possible from being a retail manager, worked for myself in IT, worked for others in IT, and helped organize and run a retro gaming convention. Now success is a relative term and even the things that I did not succeed financially in definitely brought me a lot in value in both lessons and experience. I am indeed a culmination of all of my achievements and failures.
When I was seven years old I received my first video game system, the NES, in December 1987. To say that small moment put me on a certain path is an understatement. From that moment forward I was the weird kid trying to start video game magazines in elementary school. I was one of the early pioneers of the internet (at a ripe age of 13). Having found others like me I became “President” (I use that word as loosely as possible) of an internet enthusiast club that focused on the RPGs of the time with over 500 members! (Back then that was actually a lot). I went on to start and then close the gaming LAN center. My current muse is putting on a retro gaming convention once a year here in Long Island.
I am almost hesitant to use the word minimalism so much here. It can mean so many different things to different people and can thus be interpreted many different ways. Let me tell you what it means to me.
I believe it’s safe to say I grew up in a very normal American household, and because so I definitely liked my “stuff.” Growing up I had collections of many different things, for no other reason than just to have them. I even remember starting a business card collection as a young’n. I got my first (well paying) job at the age of 16, and as I got my first paycheck all that ran through my head was “I can buy anything I want now!” That started an uncontrollable snowball effect. I continued to make more money (going from $4.25/hour to $7!) and I just bought crap. Lots of crap. I couldn’t even tell you what I bought. I was by no means a hoarder but I was definitely not living slim.
Years go by. Fast forward to when I was closing the store. I was renting a rather large house at the time and most of the stuff from the store ended up there. Soon afterwards I was walking through the garage looking at it all, and then thinking of all the stuff in the house and I thought “Why?!”
Naturally nothing changed for a long time after that. However that moment planted a seed that grew into a very large tree. To not let the story drag on much longer, I was eventually living alone after a break-up and that was when I started examining my possessions. Just really looking at what I had. Then looking at what I use. Very slowly over the next 5 years I found the word “minimalism” and all of the various books about it (some of which I have linked on this site) and with those helpful words started to sort out of of these feelings in my head.
Minimalism to me is quite simply the act of only living with things that have a great use to your life and things that (as the great Marie Kondo would say) “brings you great joy.” Many words have been written on this subject but it is apparent that here in America we have a very unhealthy obsession with stuff. Most of us often use it as a quick fix drug. We believe that this one specific item, or another $10,000 yearly will be what we need to finally be happy. That comes, goes and we are left feeling the same – unfulfilled.
To me, minimalism is de-cluttering your life, only focusing on the important things, and jettisoning all of the crap. There is no set rule. You do not need to only own 50 items or something silly like that. Only you can answer the questions of what is important to you. The difficult part is truly identifying it. We as people have a natural problem with letting things go as we tend to tie lots of emotion and memories to items.
I started this blog to talk about my two biggest interests – gaming and minimalism. I am by no means an expert on either one. My hope is that people will stop by and maybe add to the discussion. I’d like to learn from you and maybe I can help you learn something about yourself through my ramblings. Or we can just talk about old video games. 🙂